Thursday of the First Week in Lent

We are often afraid to ask God for the things that we need because, at some level, we realize that we do not deserve to receive the things for which we ask. We recognize a sort of hypocrisy in asking God for something that we would not give to our own neighbor, especially a neighbor who has treated us with the same ingratitude with which we often treat God. Because we fail to love as we ought, we do not dare ask for God’s love either.

And yet, we “who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to [our] children” (Mt 7:11). While it may be true that our natural affection might not extend, as it should, to a genuine love of our neighbors, at least we have some experience of true love in the affection that we show our children. And thus, if we can realize that Jesus offers us his Father not only as our Creator, but indeed, as our Father as well, then even on the basis of our own natural affection, we have reason to hope that the Father loves us and is glad to give us the good things that we need, no matter what we may have done or failed to do.

We set limits to our “love,” beyond which we refuse to love. Our heavenly Father, however, has no such limits. It is on the basis of this limitless love of our Father that we can place a limitless hope in him. This casts a new light upon the golden rule, which Jesus quotes at the end of today’s gospel: “do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Mt 7:12). If we would like God to love us with a limitless love, which he does for us regardless, we also should be ready to love others with the same limitless love. And this limitless love that God offers us so that we too might love with it is the only love that truly is love to the end, for wherever love sets limits upon itself, it ceases to be love.

March 9th, 2017